Watch the Michael Jackson memorial service online

It’s being touted as one of the biggest web casting events in history – the memorial service for Michael Jackson which takes place later today in LA at 10.00 am Pacific Time. Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying this will be an epic event with many major national TV networks carrying it live and widespread coverage across the net. It’s also a unique event in web history. Jackson’s popularity was worldwide and only through the internet are fans able to watch, chat and comment on the event in real time in what is effectively the world’s first “virtual funeral”.

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If you do want to join and pay your last respects to the King of Pop (or just enjoy the artist performing), here are some ways for you to watch it online.

CBS News – Coverage has already started with cameras documenting the latest movements around the Staples Centre. I found the streaming quality was very poor though and it wouldn’t play in my browser so I had to click the “Pop-Out Player” option. You can chat to other fans during the coverage via the live chat forum to the right of the screen and it’s already on-fire with activity.

CNN – CNN have teamed up with Facebook to create a live feed. Coverage has already started and streaming is excellent. You can even switch between live cams around the Staples Centre. Commenting on the event is possible and less anonymous (and therefore less nasty) than with CBS because the comments are obviously linked to your Facebook profile.

MySpace – Coverage only starts at 10am Pacific Time and it looks a little basic compared to the CNN feed but MySpace member can watch a live feed provided by AIG (and I think we all know who they are by now).

TMZ – The website that left the world’s mainstream media in the shade by being the first to break news of his death are providing a live feed from Hayvenhurst Funeral Home which is already running although so far it only seems to show people standing around barriers while police marshal traffic. Looks more like a webcam but provides excellent minute-by-minute updates of the latest inside news on what’s happening on the ground. Guaranteed that if anything big happens during the event, you’ll probably hear it first on TMZ.

Hulu – Normally only available to US users but seems that it will be broadcasting the service live across the world from 9.55am Pacific Time.

All of the above feeds are open to users around the world although there there are many other ways to follow the funeral on channels and websites restricted to certain countries. Both Sky News (17:30 GMT) and BBC2 (18:00 GMT) are broadcasting it although they are restricted to the UK.

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